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20,000+ Fans Agree - Sani Brown the Star of Japanese National Championships Day Two

Over 20,000 fans packed Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai Saturday to try to catch a piece of history on the second day of the 101st Japanese National Track and Field Championships. After a red-hot round of men's 100 m heats and sufficiently fiery semi finals led by 18-year old Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) and backed by Rio Olympics 4x100 m relay silver medal trio Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.), Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) and Aska Cambridge (Nike) plus 20-year-old newcomer Shuhei Tada (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) there was an expectation in the air for Japan's first sub-10 clocking almost as heavy as the approaching storm front.

With conditions improving throughout the late afternoon and into the early evening ahead of the 8:38 p.m. start time for the 100 m final all signals looked go.  Then, in the last km of the women's 3000 m SC two events before the 100 m, a few drops of rain. A light drizzle during the men's 400 m final. Then, in the ten minutes between the 400 m and 100 m, a downpour. A downpour which lightened to almost nothing as the men took the starting blocks but which had slicked the track to the point that the kind of time 20,000 had come to see would be almost definitely out of reach.

Not that Sani Brown didn't try. Running with a +0.6 wind, Sani Brown took 0.01 off his day-old best to outrun the field for the win in a meet record-tying 10.05. Tada was next in 10.16, outrunning silver medalist Cambridge who took 3rd in 10.18. Cambridge's Rio teammates Kiryu and Yamagata were left behind in the mist, Kiryu 4th in 10.26 and Yamagata 6th in 10.39. Just a year out from Rio and two of the silver medalists found themselves cut off from the London 100 m squad by even younger runners. It's possible at least Kiryu will make the relay team in London, but while the pace of change may be blinding, in the bigger picture, the three-year picture ending with the Tokyo 2020 4x100 m, new blood couldn't be more welcome.

Prior to lining up in the 100 m final Sani Brown also ran the 200 m heats, Cambridge opting to sit out. Sani Brown easily won his heat in 20.61 (-0.4) to move on ranked 3rd. In the top spot, the fourth member of the Rio 4x100 m team Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) breathed a sigh of relief after clearing the London standard for the first time since the qualifying window opened with a 20.40 (-0.2) to win his heat. Rio alternate Kenji Fujimitsu (Zenrin) won the other heat in 20.49 (-0.2) to take the 2nd spot, fellow alternate Kei Takase (Fujitsu) 2nd in the same heat in 20.85 after scratching from the 100 m semis.

Joining Iizuka in clearing their London standard, Genta Masuno (Yamada Denki) and Shunya Takayama (Zenrin) brought an unexpected level to the men's 110 m hurdles. In the first round heat Masuno lopped an incredible 0.15 off the meet record to win the second heat in 13.40 (+0.0), well under the 13.48 standard and just 0.01 off the national record. Takayama also cleared the old meet record by a wide margin in the heats, running 10.50 (+0.5) to win heat three but coming up 0.02 of the London standard. He rectified that situation in the semis, running 13.44 (+0.6) to join Masuno in contention for the London team in tomorrow's final.

At least one other Japanese athlete sealed up a place on the London team during day two. With four men under the standard heading into the men's 400 m hurdles, Takatoshi Abe (Descente TC) showed why he is ranked #1 in the country, calmly winning in 49.32 after leading the qualifying round in 48.94. The other three men, Ryo Kajiki (Josai Univ.), Yuta Konishi (Sumitomo Denko) and Kei Maeno (Dome), all of whom went under the London standard yesterday, were less so, taking 4th through 6th as they were outrun by the lower-ranked Yusuke Ishida (Waseda Univ.) and Yuki Matsushita (Mizuno). The JAAF prefers the most complex selection algebra possible to a simple top three, so the outcome of team selection in one of Japan's better events will still be pending the standard-chasing window and the old boys' mood over potentially picking 4th and 5th-placers for the national team.

In the men's 400 m, Takamasa Kitagawa (Juntendo Univ.) secured his place in London by winning in 45.76 after clearing the standard yesterday with a 45.48 PB. Several other events had near-misses on London standards at the front end of their fields. Meet record holder Hitomi Shimura (Toho Ginko) came within sight of both the 100 m hurdles Japanese national record and the 12.98 standard when she ran 13.03 (+0.3) in the second semifinal. Ayako Kimura (Edion) was farther off but still touching quality in 13.06 (+0.4). Yuki Hashioka (Nihon Univ.) came up 10 cm short of the men's long jump standard when he leapt 8.05 m (+1.4) for the win. Chikako Mori (Team Sekisui Kagaku) took her first 3000 m steeplechase national title in 9:49.41, missing the London standard by just over 7 seconds. Women's javelin national record holder Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC)  was 56 cm short of the qualifying standard with a 60.64 m for her ninth national title. Her teammate Ryohei Arai (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) was 87 cm off the men's javelin standard in 82.13 m, scoring his fourth-straight Nationals win.

Women's 100 m national record holder Chisato Fukushima (Sapporo T&F Assoc.) came up short of extending her own dynasty, beaten by 0.06 in the final by Kana Ichikawa (Mizuno) in 11.52 (+0.2). Ichikawa also led Fukushima in the 200 m heats,  Ichikawa running 23.39 (-0.2) to Fukushima's 23.69 (-0.4). In the men's 200 m, national record holder and Beijing 4x100 m bronze medalist Shingo Suetsugu (Seisa), now 37, emerged from semi-retirement to race 18-year-old Sani Brown in heat two. Suetsugu took last in 21.40. Another legacy runner, women's 3000 mSC national record holder Minori Hayakari (Kyoto T&F Assoc.), 45, also made an appearance, taking on the all-time #2 through #4-ranked Japanese women. While Suetsugu couldn't do anything against men less than half his age, Hayakari succeeded in beating five women decades her junior, taking 12th of 17 in 10:32.30.

The 101st Japanese National Track and Field Championships continue Sunday. Visit the JAAF's National Track and Field Championships website for entry and start lists, live results, photos and video. JRN is on-site in Osaka to cover the action live throughout the weekend. Follow @JRNHeadlines and @JRNLive for more.

101st National Track and Field Championships

Day Two Highlights
Yanmar Stadium Nagai, Osako, 6/24/17
click here for complete results
athletes in bold cleared London World Championships qualifying standards

Women's 100 m Final (+0.2)
1. Kana Ichikawa (Mizuno) - 11.52
2. Chisato Fukushima (Sapporo T&F Assoc.) - 11.58
3. Mizuki Nakamura (Osaka Seikei Univ.) - 11.68

Men's 100 m Final (+0.6)
1. Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) - 10.05 - PB, MR tie
2. Shuhei Tada (Kwansei Gakuin Univ.) - 10.16
3. Aska Cambridge (Nike) - 10.18
4. Yoshihide Kiryu (Toyo Univ.) - 10.26
5. Takuya Kawakami (Chuo Univ.) - 10.38
6. Ryota Yamagata (Seiko) - 10.39
7. Shuji Takahashi (Aichi Ika Univ.) - 10.43
8. Takumi Kuki (NTN) - 10.45

Women's 400 m Final
1. Yuna Iwata (Chuo Univ.) - 53.65
2. Konomi Takeishi (Toho Ginko) - 53.83
3. Ayaka Kawata (Higashi Osaka Prep H.S.) - 54.18

Men's 400 m Final
1. Takamasa Kitagawa (Juntendo Univ.) - 45.76
2. Kentaro Sato (Fujitsu) - 45.95
3. Kazushi Kimura (Yondenko) - 46.02

Men's 800 m Final
1. Sho Kawamoto (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 1:47.00
2. Takumi Murashima (Juntendo Univ.) - 1:47.68
3. Jun Mitake (TSP Taiyo) - 1:47.97

Women's 1500 m Final
1. Ayako Jinnouchi (Kyudenko) - 4:15.71
2. Mina Ueda (Josai Univ.) - 4:17.38
3. Yuna Wada (Nagano Higashi H.S.) - 4:17.77
4. Chiaki Morikawa (Uniqlo) - 4:18.03
5. Maya Iino (Daiichi Seimei) - 4:18.39

Men's 1500 m  Final
1. Ryoji Tatezawa (Tokai Univ.) - 3:49.73
2. Hyuga Endo (Sumitomo Denko) - 3:50.46
3. Daiki Hirose (Osaka Gas) - 3:50.84
4. Yuki Muta (Hitachi Butsuryu) - 3:51.20
5. Yasunari Kusu (Komori Corp.) - 3:51.32

Men's 400 mH Final
1. Takatoshi Abe (Descente TC) - 49.32
2. Yusuke Ishida (Waseda Univ.) - 49.79
3. Yuki Matsushita (Mizuno) - 49.92
4. Ryo Kajiki (Josai Univ.) - 50.01
5. Yuta Konishi (Sumitomo Denko) - 50.05
6. Kei Maeno (Dome) - 50.32
7. Yoshiro Watanabe (Josai Univ.) - 50.33
8. Kotaro Miyao (Ise A. Lab) - 50.79

Women's 3000 mSC Final
1. Chikako Mori (Sekisui Kagaku) - 9:49.41
2. Misaki Sango (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 9:53.42
3. Anju Takamizawa (Matsuyama Univ.) - 9:57.23
4. Ayaka Koike (Edion) - 10:04.73
5. Kako Okada (Matsuyama Univ) - 10:05.26
12. Minori Hayakari (Kyoto T&F Assoc.) - 10:32.30

Women's Triple Jump Final
1. Kaede Miyazaka (Nippatsu) - 13.48 m (+1.8)
2. Kuria Kenmochi (Nippatsu) - 13.14 m (+1.4)
3. Mei Kida (Mirai Techno) - 12.99 (+2.8)

Women's Pole Vault Final
1. Tomomi Abiko (Shiga Lake Stars) - 4.30 m
2. Megumi Nakada (Mito Shinkin) - 4.20 m
3. Rina Mamiya (Gifu T&F Assoc.) - 4.10 m

Men's Long Jump Final
1. Yuki Hashioka (Nihon Univ.) - 8.05 m (+1.4)
2. Shinichiro Shimono (Kyudenko) - 7.86 m (+0.2)
3. Natsuki Yamakawa (Nihon Univ.) - 7.75 m (+0.8)

Women's Shot Put Final
1. Nanaka Kori (Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ.) - 15.82 m
2. Aya Ota (Fukuoka Univ.) - 15.28 m
3. Chiaki Yoshino (Saitama T&F Assoc.) - 15.22 m

Women's Javelin Throw Final
1. Yuki Ebihara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 60.64 m
2. Marina Saito (Kokushikan Univ.) - 59.56 m
3. Mikako Yamashita (Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ.) - 59.53 m

Men's Javelin Throw Final
1. Ryohei Arai (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 82.13 m
2. Kensuke Sogawa (Nara T&F Assoc.) - 76.63 m
3. Kenji Ogura (Nihon Univ.) - 76.16 m

Women's 200 m Final Qualifiers
Kana Ichikawa (Mizuno) - 23.39 (-0.2)
Chisato Fukushima (Sapporo T&F Assoc.) - 23.69 (-0.4)
Saori Imai (Iida Byoin) - 23.73 (-0.2)
Mizuki Nakamura (Osaka Seikei Univ.) - 23.77 (-0.2)
Miyu Maeyama (Niigata Iryo Fukushi Univ.) - 23.80 (-0.2)
Ami Saito (Kurashiki Chuo H.S.) - 23.98 (-0.2)
Ichiko Iki (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 24.12 (-0.4)
Yukina Shimada (Hokkaido Hi-Tech AC) - 24.16 (-0.2)

Men's 200 m Final Qualifiers
Shota Iizuka (Mizuno) - 20.40 (+0.2)
Kenji Fujimitsu (Zenrin) - 20.49 (-0.2)
Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Tokyo T&F Assoc.) - 20.61 (-0.4)
Shota Hara (Suzuki Hamamatsu AC) - 20.66 (-0.4)
Jun Yamashita (Tsukuba Univ.) - 20.73 (-0.4)
Tatsuro Suwa (NTN) - 20.83 (+0.2)
Yusuke Tanaka (Nihon Wellness Univ.) - 20.83 (+0.2)
Kei Takase (Fujitsu) - 20.85 (-0.2)

Women's 800 m Final Qualifiers
Fumika Omori (Lotte) - 2:05.30
Ayaka Kawata (Higashi Osaka Prep H.S.) - 2:05.65
Yume Kitamura (Nittai Univ.) - 2:05.69
Hana Yamada (Warabeya Track Team) - 2:06.33
Ran Tobe (Tokyo Gakugei Univ.) - 2:06.47
Ayano Shimo (Kyoto Bunkyo H.S.) - 2:06.95
Ayaka Miyade (Higashi Osaka Prep H.S.) - 2:07.15
Yuki Hirota (Akita Univ.) - 2:07.36

Women's 100 mH Final Qualifiers
Hitomi Shimura (Toho Ginko) - 13.03 (+0.3)
Ayako Kimura (Edion) - 13.06 (+0.4)
Eriko Soma (Starts) - 13.36 (+0.3)
Mako Fukube (Nittai Univ.) - 13.37 (+0.4)
Yuka Nomura (Fukui Ginko) - 13.38 (+0.4)
Sayaka Kobayashi (Aichi Kyoiku Univ.) - 13.45 (+0.3)
Yumi Tanaka (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 13.50 (+0.3)
Chisato Kiyoyama (Ichigo) - 13.50 (+0.4)

Men's 110 mH Final Qualifiers
Shunya Takayama (Zenrin) - 13.44 (+0.6)
Genta Masuno (Yamada Denki) - 13.54 (+0.3) / 13.40 (+0.0) MR in heats
Hiroyuki Sato (Hitachi Kasei) - 13.59 (+0.6)
Wataru Yazawa (Descente TC) - 13.66 (+0.6)
Anthony Kuriki (Kokusai Budo Univ.) - 13.69 (+0.6)
Taio Kanai (Hosei Univ.) - 13.71 (+0.3)
Shinya Tanaka (K-plus) - 13.76 (+0.3)
Shuhei Ishikawa (Tsukuba Univ.) - 13.78 (+0.3)

Women's 400 mH Final Qualifiers
Sayaka Aoki (Toho Ginko) - 56.37
Manami Kira (Art Home) - 57.69
Kana Koyama (Waseda Univ.) - 57.87
Moe Oshiden (Ritsumeikan Univ.) - 58.65
Haruka Shibata (Mizuno) - 58.94
Mayu Saito (Nanajunana Ginko) - 59.20
Haruka Katayama (Fukuoka Univ.) - 59.38
Satsuki Umehara (Sumitomo Denko) - 59.46

© 2017 Brett Larner, all rights reserved


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